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The Ultimate Guide to Ottawa’s Top Tourist Attractions
The Ultimate Guide to Ottawa's Top Tourist Attractions

Ottawa, the capital city of Canada, is a beautiful and historic destination that attracts millions of tourists every year. Whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s cultural landmarks or enjoying its natural beauty, Ottawa has something to offer everyone. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the top tourist attractions in Ottawa, and offer some tips on how to make the most of your visit.

Parliament Hill

Parliament Hill is the heart of Ottawa’s political scene, and one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Located at the heart of the city, it is home to Canada’s federal government and the beautiful Gothic Revival-style buildings. You can take a guided tour of Parliament Hill, which will take you through the halls of power and give you an insight into the country’s political history. Make sure you catch the Changing of the Guard ceremony that takes place daily in the summer months.

Rideau Canal

The Rideau Canal is one of Ottawa’s most famous landmarks, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This man-made canal connects Ottawa to Kingston and was built over 180 years ago. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the canal or take a boat ride through its scenic waters. In the winter, the canal transforms into the world’s largest ice skating rink, attracting visitors from all over the world.

National Gallery of Canada

The National Gallery of Canada is a must-visit attraction for art lovers. It houses over 65,000 works of art, including Canadian and Indigenous art, European and American art, and contemporary art. The gallery also has an impressive collection of photographs and prints. The building itself is a work of art, with a stunning glass dome that lets in natural light and offers beautiful views of the city.

Canadian War Museum

The Canadian War Museum is a fascinating destination for history buffs. It tells the story of Canada’s military history, from the battles fought by First Nations peoples to the present day. The museum’s collections include vehicles, weapons, uniforms, and personal belongings of soldiers who served in various wars. Visitors can also explore the interactive exhibits that bring the stories of Canada’s military history to life.

ByWard Market

The ByWard Market is a bustling outdoor market that has been a part of Ottawa’s history since the early 19th century. Today, it is a popular destination for foodies, offering everything from fresh produce to artisanal cheeses and baked goods. The market also has a range of restaurants and cafes, making it a great place to stop for lunch or dinner. In the summer, visitors can enjoy live music and street performers in the market’s courtyard.

Canadian Museum of History

The Canadian Museum of History is located just across the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec. It is one of Canada’s most visited museums, and for good reason. The museum tells the story of Canada’s history, from its Indigenous roots to the present day. Visitors can explore exhibits on Canadian history, as well as world history, with a focus on the cultures and civilizations of the Americas. The museum also has a beautiful waterfront setting, with stunning views of Parliament Hill.

National Arts Centre

The National Arts Centre is Canada’s premier performing arts venue, hosting everything from ballet and opera to theatre and music. The centre has four performance spaces, including the stunning Southam Hall, which can seat over 2,000 people. The National Arts Centre is also home to the National Arts Centre Orchestra, one of Canada’s leading orchestras.

Gatineau Park

If you’re looking for a break from the city, head to Gatineau Park, located just 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa. The park covers over 360 square kilometers and offers a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, skiing, and snowshoeing. The park is home to over 50 lakes and a diverse range of flora and fauna, making it a popular destination for nature enthusiasts.

Canadian Museum of Nature

The Canadian Museum of Nature is another must-visit attraction for those interested in the natural world. The museum’s exhibits cover everything from dinosaurs to Canadian wildlife to the science behind natural phenomena. The museum also has a stunning rotunda, which features a 19-meter-high glass ceiling.

Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica

Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica is a stunning example of Gothic Revival architecture and one of Ottawa’s most beautiful buildings. The cathedral was completed in 1846 and is the oldest and largest church in Ottawa. Visitors can take a guided tour of the cathedral, which will take you through its beautiful stained glass windows, intricate carvings, and historic artifacts.

Tips for Visiting Ottawa’s Top Tourist Attractions

Now that we’ve covered some of the top tourist attractions in Ottawa, here are a few tips to help you make the most of your visit:

Plan ahead

Many of Ottawa’s top attractions, such as Parliament Hill and the Canadian War Museum, offer guided tours that can fill up quickly. Be sure to book your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.

Dress for the weather

Ottawa can experience extreme weather conditions, from hot summers to cold winters. Make sure you check the weather forecast and dress accordingly.

Use public transport

Ottawa’s public transport system is efficient and easy to use. Consider taking the bus or train to get around the city, especially during peak tourist season.

Take advantage of free admission

Many of Ottawa’s top attractions offer free admission on certain days or during certain times of the year. Check the websites of the attractions you’re interested in to see if they offer any free admission options.

Explore beyond the city center

Ottawa has many beautiful neighborhoods and suburbs that are worth exploring, such as Westboro, Hintonburg, and Old Ottawa South. Consider renting a bike or taking a walking tour to discover these hidden gems.

Ottawa is a beautiful and diverse city that offers something for everyone. From its historic landmarks to its natural beauty, Ottawa’s top tourist attractions are sure to leave a lasting impression. By planning ahead and following these tips, you can make the most of your visit and create unforgettable memories.